It’s the key to success, happiness, and unlocking everything you want in life.
But do you ever feel like everyone else has it together? As if you’re messing around, while they’re out there living their life to the fullest?
Do other people not spend countless hours scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Even better, what ways can we use our phones to actually stimulate us – instead of just sucking our time?
Here’s the thing:
When you’re learning how to be productive at home, you’ve got to start small. You don’t have to be perfect; you just have to start.
So today, I want to share 25 small but powerful things you can do after work to feel better, more productive, and get the most out of your life.
Let’s jump in.
1. Listen to Audible
Picture the smartest, most successful person you know.
Really think about.
Now I can tell you why that person is successful:
They never stop learning.
As Jim Rohn once said, “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.”
So here’s the deal:
Bill Gates reads 50 books a year. Warren Buffett spends most of his free time reading. Oprah has a monthly book club.
And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about success, it’s this:
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If you want to be successful, you just have to do what successful people do. So try a free 30-day Audible trial and commit to listening to an audiobook for at least 20 minutes each day.
Note: Audible gives you 2 free audiobooks with your 30-day free trial.
2. Start saving with Rakuten
Do you shop online?
Me too. And I’ve found that the Rakuten app is the best way to save money online. I’ve earned over $1,000 since joining a few years ago.
You should use it for any and every online purchase, but you’ll especially love it for saving big on holiday and birthday shopping.
Here’s how it works:
Rakuten is a cashback app that pays you cashback every time you shop online. You just shop online like you normally would and save money on things you’d normally buy anyway.
All you do is sign up for a free account and use the Rakuten search bar to find your retailer.
For my visual readers, here’s how that looks:
Rakuten will either send your money via Paypal or mail you a check directly. It’s a great way to learn how to be productive at home and save money in the process. Win-win.
Note: Our Rakuten link gives you $30 for signing up and shopping.
3. Be a spending detective
I know what you’re thinking.
…a spending what?
But if you do this exercise, it might surprise you.
I challenge you to pull up your bank statements and credit card statements for the last 6 weeks. If you could cut out 4 or 5 unnecessary expenses, what would they be?
You might be shocked by all the spending leaks in your budget.
For example, pay close attention to the little expenses that are so easy to forget about:
- Unused subscriptions
- Unused gym memberships
- Free trials you forgot to cancel
- Excessive dining out
To take it a step further, spend a few minutes creating a monthly budget. As John Maxwell once said, “A budget is you telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”
Are you ready to take control of your money? Grab our free budgeting worksheet:
4. Watch a Ted Talk
One night I was scrolling through my phone. It was late. I should’ve been sleeping. But a video title caught my attention.
How to stop screwing yourself over.
Hm, I thought. That’s interesting. I don’t *think* I intentionally screw myself over, but I knew I had to see what this video was all about.
And I’m so glad I did. I know you will be too.
Because if you do nothing else today, then watching this video alone is something productive that will stick with you forever.
Meet Mel Robbins:
You can thank me later.
5. Improve your vocabulary
Communication is key. And it’s one of the most undeniable traits of successful leaders. But while some people are born charming and confident, the rest of us have to learn it.
Subscribe to Merriam Webster’s Word of the Day notifications.
You’ll get a new word delivered to your inbox daily. And to take it a step further, try writing a sentence with the word of the day in it.
This will help you remember what you just learned. It’s fun and it’s useful. And it’s what I call learning how to be productive at home with a purpose.
6. Do a puzzle and frame it
(Above: Framed puzzle from Etsy)
There’s a silent movement going on. It doesn’t involve social media, apps, or the latest tech gadget.
Following behind adult coloring books and board games – puzzles are making a comeback. Maybe it’s because everyone wants to unplug from their phones and spend more time with family.
Or maybe it’s because it’s a natural stress reliever.
Whatever the reason, puzzle-solving has some pretty awesome benefits:
- Improves memory
- Enhances problem-solving skills
- Encourages better reasoning
- Increases your IQ
In fact, one study found that you can boost your IQ by 4 points by spending 25 minutes a day piecing a puzzle together.
Not bad, right?
So if you’re looking for things to do without technology, this is your chance.
7. Read quotes
Raise your hand if you love motivational quotes.
Two of my favorites are:
“The man at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” – Vince Lombardi
“Don’t work 8 hours for a company then go home and not work on your own goals. You’re not tired, you’re uninspired.” – Unknown
So when I found this book of inspirational quotes, I knew I had to have it. I like starting and ending my day on the right note.
What’s your favorite quote?
8. Meal Plan
I don’t know about you.
But one of the most dreaded sentences in the English language is:
What’s for dinner?
Okay, okay…kidding. But if you’re anything like me, then you don’t always make time to meal plan or write a shopping list.
I like to keep things simple. So I started using the $5 meal plan system.
Here’s how it works:
Erin Chase (the creator) cooks for her family of 6 for only $5 per meal. She developed the $5 meal plan system after realizing she could help others learn how to be productive at home when it comes to meal planning and cooking.
Her meal plans come with hundreds of recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are also separate plans for gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian.
My favorite part?
Each weekly plan comes with its own printable shopping list. This alone saves you so much time and effort in deciding what to cook.
A few of my favorites recipes have been:
Almond Vanilla French Toast (Breakfast)
- Takes 15 minutes
BBQ Chicken Nachos (Dinner)
- Takes 10 minutes
Salted Caramel Brownie Parfaits (Dessert)
- Takes 10 minutes
You can try the 14-day free trial here. After that, the membership is only $5 per month.
If you’re anything like me, it will easily pay for itself in the first week – both in time and money.
Click here to try your free trial.
9. Invest in yourself
One of the best ways to spend your free time is by investing in your future.
Here’s the deal:
Investing in yourself comes in many forms. It could be practicing some much needed self-care. Like getting some sleep or taking a hot bath.
Or it could mean earning a certificate or learning a new skill.
I once heard a successful person say:
“I like to spend money on things that will make me money.”
So if you’ve thought about learning a new skill or improving yourself, this could be your start.
If you want to learn a skill to help you earn extra money, I recommend learning how to become a virtual assistant.
A recent study showed that over 44 million Americans are side hustlin’ their way to financial freedom. Are you one of them?
10. Learn a new language
Did you know one of the best ways to feed your brain is by learning another language?
And the truth is, in today’s increasingly interconnected world, learning another language is becoming a vital skill. Not just in your personal life, but also in your career. This is more than just learning how to be productive at home.
Have you heard of the Duolingo app?
It’s a completely free app that teaches you a new language.
Best of all?
It’s fun. This isn’t like your high school language class. The lessons are centered around games so you don’t actually feel like you’re studying.
It also has sections where you use your phone’s mic to record yourself saying words. This is crucial because when it comes to learning another language, it’s important to know how to pronounce what you’re learning.
One study found that people learned faster with Duolingo than Rosetta Stone. The study also suggested that 34 hours of Duolingo lessons is the equivalent of one college semester.
11. Follow EndThrive on Pocket
Pocket is a free app that allows you to save and find new articles online based on your interests.
So if you like what you’re reading and want to stay in touch with EndThrive, then follow us on pocket.
12. Plan something fun
Most people think that success leads to happiness.
But what if I told you it’s the other way around? Success doesn’t lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.
And if you’ve ever read The Happiness Advantage, then you’ve heard Shawn Achor talk about the importance of having something to look forward to – whether it’s this month or this year. Just plan something you enjoy.
According to Shawn, one study found that people who just thought about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27%
Ever since reading Shawn’s book, I’ve used this trick religiously. Whether it’s planning a big vacation or a lunch out with friends, I try to plan something every month to look forward to.
Have you tried it? You might be surprised at what it does for your happiness.
13. Boost your memory
Do you want to put your best foot forward?
It’s no secret that between the demands at work and in our personal lives, we sometimes let life get in the way of our mental well-being.
So if you want a fun way to train your brain, then try the Lumosity app.
This app was created with the help of over 100 researchers from around the world who wanted to teach people how to be productive at home.
It works. One study of more than 4,000 adults found that Lumosity helped them improve their comprehension.
It includes over 50 games designed to help you improve 5 key areas:
- Mental flexibility
Give it a shot.
14. Use a gratitude journal
Gratitude changes everything.
Two of my favorite gratitude quotes are:
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Aesop
“It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude. It’s gratitude that brings us happiness.” – Unknown
If you want to be happier in 5 minutes a day or less, then you should try the 5-minute journal. It’s a notebook that makes you a more positive person through writing what you’re grateful for.
5 minutes a day is worth the increased happiness and productivity you’ll feel. Plus, it’ll easily become one of your favorite things to do without technology.
15. Clean your car
There’s no doubt about it.
When it comes to cleaning, sometimes our cars get put on the back burner.
After all, with laundry, dishes, and everything else that comes with maintaining your home…it’s easy to overlook. But if you have a free hour after work, then use that time to do something productive like clean your car. Especially if it’s a pretty day outside.
Sunlight = endorphins. And who couldn’t use a few more endorphins?
16. Set up a password manager
Passwords are hard to remember – and just when you do – you’re asked to change it for the 10th time.
But in case you haven’t heard of password managers, they’re programs that remember your passwords for you. They make it easy to use and store strong passwords that are long and contain several characters.
You know, a password like this:
According to How Secure Is My Password?, a password like the one above would take 32 septillion years for a computer hacker to crack.
Google has a free password manager tool for Gmail users. Other good options are LastPass and Dashlane.
17. Declutter your emails
Between work, newsletters, and spam – it all adds up quick, doesn’t it?
So this tip is for learning how to be productive at home and at work. And it starts by clearing the clutter.
Because even though email is an important form of communication, it can hog hours of your time. The worst part? It’s unproductive.
So do yourself a favor and spend a few minutes sorting and deleting your emails. And in case you’re wondering, there are entire articles written about cleaning your inbox.
You know what that means. We’re not the only ones who struggle with an out-of-control inbox.
18. Update your resume
One of my career mentors gave me one of the most useful career tips I’ve ever heard:
Always think about the skills needed for the NEXT job.
Whether you love your job or not, it’s important to keep your resume updated and ready at all times. Opportunities knock at the most unexpected times, right?
Stay ready so you won’t have to get ready.
And while you’re at it, check out what it takes to have a good resume.
19. Learn about your genealogy
“Genealogy is said to be America’s second-most popular hobby,” said Beverly Strassmann, a University of Michigan anthropologist.
With the emerging popularity of sites like 23andme and AncestryDNA, more and more people are becoming curious about their roots. And many of them are surprised at what they find.
What about you? Do you know your history?
20. Put together an emergency kit
Emergency kits save lives. And if something bad happens, you could find yourself without the modern-day luxuries that we take for granted. So if you want to learn how to be productive at home, then start with ensuring your safety.
The nationwide “Do 1 Thing” initiative is an effort aimed to encourage people to become better prepared for emergencies or disasters.
Do 1 Thing says the ideal emergency kit should include supplies that will allow you to survive for 48 to 72 hours. When it comes to water, the program recommends 1 gallon per person per day.
The American Red Cross has several good options for emergency bags that are reasonably priced.
21. Write your key qualities
If you could write down 6 traits you’d like to have, what would they be?
Kind? Patient? Passionate?
And how many times do we think about qualities we want from our partner, but fail to think about what qualities we want in ourselves?
When it comes to relationships, I once heard someone say:
“Write down every quality you want in a partner and go out there and be that yourself.”
How powerful is that?
22. Sell old stuff
This hits two birds with one stone. Get rid of stuff you don’t need and make money doing it.
OfferUp, LetGo, and eBay are great places to start.
23. Look for gifts
The Mayo Clinic recommends walking for at least 30 minutes a day. Not to mention, spending time outdoors is a natural mood booster.
So whether it’s after work or during your lunch break, commit to spending a few minutes outside in the fresh air. It’s good to get outside of the four walls of your home or office. Because sometimes learning how to be productive at home just requires some fresh air and sun on your skin.
You can use the Health app on your phone to track your steps.
Here’s what your step activity levels are:
Sedentary: 5,000 steps or less
Low Active: 5,000 – 7,499
Somewhat Active: 7,500 – 9,999
Where are you on the chart?
25. Learn what’s going on in the world
And not just because it’s a nice thing to do.
Thanks for reading.